Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography smothered Iloilo with an imposing 25-19, 25-18, 25-21 victory on Friday to force a playoff for the bronze medal in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
But the AJAA Spikers, who dropped the opener of their side of the best-of-three series, 25-21, 23-25, 21-25, 22-25, last Wednesday, could clinch third place honors with superior set ration if the Cignal HD Spikers repeat over the Cotabato Spikers and complete their historic 15-game sweep.
Cignal and Cotabato are still playing at presstime.
"What happened noong tinalo kami ng Iloilo was a lesson for our team. I told my players na we have to get this game in three sets because whatever happens, kung manalo ang Cignal tapos na ang laban wala na kaming Game 3," said Imus head coach Sammy Acaylar.
"Sabi ko sa mga players ko na give your best, your skills individually then put it into one team as Imus so nangyari ngayon," he added.
The AJAA Spikers responded, storming to an 11-3 lead in the opening frame en route to the six-point win.
The D'Navigators, with Jade Disquitado on the firing end, tried to fight back in the next, forcing a 14-all count, only to yield in the face of the AJAA Spikers’ strong finishing kick anchored on Francis Saura and Ridz Muhali.
Imus also pounced on Iloilo's mishaps to fashion out the seven-point romp.
It was more of the same in the third as Rey Taneo dished out 21 excellent sets and Ridz Muhali put up a 13-point showing in their big bounce back win. Kim Malabunga and Hero Austria matched 12-point outputs with the latter capping his superb all-around performance with 16 excellent receptions and five digs.
Libero Rikko Marmeto also came up with 20 receptions and 16 digs.
The AJAA Spikers also slowed down Disquitado, who exploded with 30 points in Game One but settled for a 21-point effort this time, going 19-of-39 in attacks, while Rash Nursiddik finished with seven points.